Reviewed by Oscar Hyde
The duo known as Union Jill, previously known as Two, have here put together songs in remembrance of rebellious women throughout history. Their lyrics are quietly clever, literate, full of unshowy wordplay while their beautifully intertwining voices and guitars, both electric and acoustic, make for an appealing sound. Overall, the sound is a mix of Americana and British folk. "Queen Of Holloway" tells the story of Annie Kenney, the only working-class suffragette, in the marching plod of inevitable progress, while "Trailblazer" whizzes its notes up and down, intermittently settling in for a glide, the better to extol the women who piloted Spitfires. Other stories pop up - witches hunted by Matthew Hopkins, the unjustly executed Alice Smith of York, the legends surrounding the sunken town of Dunwich; history buffs will love poking through all the references. Two will particularly stand out for the conscious historian, though. The first is "Drive", on the complicity of those who do nothing to resist evil, and the terror of actual resistance. The second, "Red On The Stair", translates the story of Kitty Genovese into an urgent and present scenario, with no ending as yet: someone has reached for the telephone. "Help her," the subtext presses us. "Don't be silent in the face of evil." Union Jill have given us more than enough motivation to raise our voices with a highly impressive debut album.
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